'My first-year law students would have written a better opinion': Neal Katyal slams judge's Trump ruling
Trump gestures as he addresses a press conference at the Lotte Palace Hotel. (Shutterstock.com)

On Monday, former solicitor general and Georgetown Law professor Neal Katyal took to Twitter to dissect all of the problems with District Judge Aileen Cannon's decision granting former President Donald Trump's request to have a special master review the materials the FBI seized at Mar-a-Lago as part of the investigation into improperly removed classified information.

"This special master opinion is so bad it’s hard to know where to begin," wrote Katyal. "She says Biden hasn’t weighed in on whether docs protected by Exec Privilege. Nonsense. The archives letter (which DOJ submitted to the Judge) makes it clear current President thinks none of this is privileged. Archivist says it is 'not a close' question."

Furthermore, Katyal noted, the opinion "enjoins the entire investigation because some of the material might be subject to Executive Privilege. But Executive Priv isn’t some post-presidential privilege that allows Presidents to keep documents after they leave office. At most, it simply means these are Executive documents that must be returned to the archives. It doesn’t in any way shape or form mean they can’t be used in a criminal prosecution about stolen docs."

And that's before getting into the fact that a special master simply isn't equipped to resolve the issues Cannon alluded to, wrote Katyal, including which documents, exactly, are subject to privilege and why, and which documents would do "reputational harm" to Trump.

"She says that because some tiny percentage of materials might be privileged, the entire investigation over all the materials has to stop. That’s a bazooka when one needs at most a scalpel," wrote Katyal. "She tries to enjoin the Exec Branch from using these materials in an investigation, but the govt has already reviewed all the materials. It makes no sense." And, "She says Trump suffers irreparable harm in interim, but the only harm she isolates is he won’t have the docs back during the investig. That’s not irreparable, he can get them back later & if they are improperly used to bring an indictment, he can move to dismiss the indictment."

And beyond all of that, Katyal argued, Cannon failed utterly to prove that either Trump has standing, since the documents belonged to the Archives and not him in the first place, or that she herself even has jurisdiction to hear the case, given the magistrate judge who approved the warrant could have heard this question.

"That’s just a few of many more problems," concluded Katyal. "Frankly, any of my first year law students would have written a better opinion."